|Written by Ed Morton|
I was a young man when my Uncle BoBo, came into my life. He was lovable, caring, and outgoing. My first impression of him was, "Eh! Auntie where you wen find this crazy Puerto-Rican?" He looked like one of the guys from the "Rat-Pack".
You know the guy with curly hair and "duck tail" hair-do? But you no can judge somebody, from their looks.
My Uncle was an ex-marine, the bugga was built, short and stocky. His attitude was, yeah you know, "What you looking at? You like beef?" He rode a Harley with a "suicide stick", yep you got it, and he walked the walk and talked the talk. Uncle BoBo was a great ukulele designer and builder. He could play with the best. Uncle worked at the steel mill nea Campbell.
One day my Auntie and I went to visit him in the hospital. He had injured his foot, a piece of molted metal had spilled on his safety boot and burned through to his foot. The doctors had to graft skin from his okole to his foot. Ever since then wen he would like to take a break he would say, "eh! my foot like sit down."
Wen eva we had a party or luau, Uncle BoBo was always the life of the party. Sometimes he would drink too much and then go moe moe. One nite my Auntie and momma decided to get even with him for all the jokes he had pulled on them. Uncle was sound asleep, his snores were loud and his nice handle bar mustache was fluttering. Auntie and momma wen put shaving cream on one side of his mustache and shaved it off. Then they dolled him up with lip stick. Wen he wen wake up, oh! boy he went looking for my Auntie and momma. More worse they wen take his picha. Afta that wen eva he saw the picha, it would remind him not to fall asleep at a party.
Whenever I would go home, my family and I would always visit with my uncle BoBo and Auntie. Uncle was his old self, always a smile and laughs. My Uncle and Auntie could not have any children. Uncle had one son from his first marriage, cousin Sonny, then they adopted my cousin Tanya. My Uncle and Auntie loved their children and grandchildren. Uncle and Auntie lived in Wailua. They became Kapunas along with my Auntie Nona and my Grandmother. They all enjoyed working with the kids from the local school district.
I remember a visit one time with my Uncle and family. There were tennis shoes all lined up on several shelves; some of these shoes were very expensive. I asked him what was going on. Uncle tells me that when the school kids come down to learn about Hawaiian culture they learn how poi was made. After their class the kids would always want to play in the "puna-wai" so they would take off their shoes. Then the bus would show up. You know Hawaiian keiki they rather go bare feet, so they pick up all the shoes and wait till the kids come back or their parents show up with them to pick up their shoes.
My Uncle BoBo was a man who always looked ahead. He was a giving, love-able, father, grandfather, and uncle. I will always remember with fond memories of his life how he touched so many with his musical talents, his craftsmanship and easy going life style. I can only imagine what he passed on to the kids that came to their classes, and what they took away with them (besides their tennis shoes).
These are the times that really make me sad, being so far away when a dear love one passes, yes I could have got on a plane, but sometimes you can't, my only way to say Aloha is by writing my memories of a great "Uncle". I have been blessed with such a great ohana and the memories each one has passed on. Akua ho'omaika'i 'oe, Anakala, A hui hou kakou, Aloha Nui Loa.
Whenever we hear a melody, smell the salty air, see a far off island, or taste something from Hawaii, we will be transported back "Home", no matter who you are. If you were born in Hawaii and lived there for any length of time, we have a UA MAU KE EA O KA 'AINA!
I am from Wahiawa, I went to Leilehua High School and my family still lives on Oahu. At times I will recall stories of my growing up and love to share them. I currently live in Missouri with my family and love to tell them stories
Aloha Ed, Those of us who were fortunate enough to have favorite uncle(s) can easily relate to your story. Small kid time, they were our hero(s) - usually bigger than life - big, smart, superman, all rolled in one. And good fun to be with! I ke la'a kea, Maku
Beautiful story!! full of much love for your ohana.
Great story, I miss famliy and the stories. I grew up in Wahiawa,too. :-)Take Care and keep the stories coming. Aloha!